The following is Chapter 3 of the Original Short Story “Miranda” featured on BoxOfficeBoredom.com. If you haven’t read chapter 01, click here to check it out.
Audio Chapter also available on our YouTube Channel
Jake returned from work early and came to find his wife Lauren on the floor crying. She hesitated to tell him but couldn’t hold back. She explained to him about Orson, about the terrorist plot and what she had done. She knew the repercussions but knew that she couldn’t keep it from Jake no matter the cost.
Jake consoled his wife before going to his computer. The screen looked like nothing had been touched. Jake started looking through some back channel logs and trackers he kept on his own computer to monitor activity. For years Lauren thought he was paranoid but this was one case where it came in handy. Jake went from concerned to angry in a matter of minutes. If only Lauren had come to him they could have done something – together. But instead, she created a mess that couldn’t be undone.
“Lauren, I need you to answer this very carefully. WHAT did they tell you this program DOES?” asked Jake as he raised his voice a bit, obviously concerned.
“They told me it would erase the hard drive and nothing else. If I did it no one would get hurt. They threatened us Jake. I did it for US – don’t you see that?” cried Lauren. The tears streamed down her face smearing her makeup.
“This isn’t a program that erases anything Lauren. It’s making my computer a server for something. I can’t trace the host computer, but it looks to be making my computer track something, perhaps even control something. What else did they tell you?”
“They said to avoid any last minute trips to New York…and talked about having power…and a special project with one of your students . “ said Lauren with a shortness of breath.
“Let me get this straight. You meet this Orson, he tells you to sabotage our computer or else he would kill us and you THOUGHT this was a GOOD idea?” screamed Jake.
“He threatened us with our lives!!!! Don’t you get that? I told you because I thought you could do something. Now stop yelling and try to do SOMETHING.” said Lauren finally raising her tone of voice in response to Jake.
“The numbers the program is running. They were reading steady repeatedly. Then they start changing by increments every minute. What the hell could it mean….what is it doing?” said Jake nervously tapping on the key board. “Wait Lauren— the numbers—they are GPS code perhaps. What city did they say to stay out of?”
Jake frantically began using a map program and inputted the numbers into the program. His eyes got wider as he realized that those numbers were latitude and longitude coordinates for a harbor right on the edge of New York City.
“Lauren- this wasn’t about erasing a document. This program is a GPS program. Our computer is controlling something and taking it somewhere in New York.”
“Can you stop it?”
Jake continued to tap away at the program. His screen went black. “I’m locked out of it Lauren. I can’t do anything.”
Lauren nearly lost it when the first knock on the door happened. She knew it was Orson’s men. She didn’t hold up her end of the deal. Now they were coming for her.
“Jake- we need to move—now. That’s them.”
They both looked at each other in fear and ran to the back door. They opened the door and ran into the attached garage and got in Jake’s car. They both knew their only hope now was to go to the authorities. Jake’s tires squealed as he revved the engine and drove out the driveway. He threw the car in drive and punched the gas pedal. The police station was only 6 blocks away.
Jake tore straight through the first red light, after all the worst that could happen is he is stopped by the police- whom he wanted to see anyway. Second red light came and went, as did the third. Three more blocks to go. “Don’t worry Lauren, we’ll get through this.” He reached over and squeezed her hand.
Jake Deneveau never saw the black SUV come out of nowhere and T-bone his car. The car was hit with such force that it simply crinkled under the sheer force. The air bags popped, but the car was already spinning.
The rest of the details were becoming fuzzy to Jake. He remembered fading in and out of consciousness. He remembered the two men get out of the vehicle and approach the car. As he was fading out, one of the men checked his pulse. “He’s alive. Barely. This guy is as good as dead. Did we take care of the woman?” the man asked the other man. “She’s hurt pretty badly. It’s a matter of minutes before she’s gone.”
The two men walked away, got in the SUV and took off. Jake wanted to move his body with all his might. He couldn’t lift a finger. Lauren Deneveau sat in the seat next to him with a giant head wound, and a large crimson spot growing in size on the side of her sun dress. “I love you Jake.” was the last thing she said as she took her final gasp of air. Jake tried to scream. He was too weak. He heard sirens approaching in the background right before everything went black.